BLACKBURN and Great Harwood town centres have been granted £237,000 each from the government's new £7million High Street Accelerators programme.

They are among 10 areas to receive a share of an initial £2.37m to kickstart long-term regeneration partnerships and can now apply for a share of a further £5m to improve their high streets’ green spaces and create more pleasant environments for residents to meet and socialise.

The grant will be used for King William Street in Blackburn where it will be fed into the £250million Town Centre Masterplan.

The Great Harwood cash will be spent on 'greening' Queen Street, Blackburn Road and Church Street and revitalising its role as the local high street.

A local stakeholder board ‘Great Harwood Town Panel’ will be established to bid for an additional £500,000.

Cllr Mohammed Younis, Hyndburn Council's levelling up boss, said: "I am thrilled to announce we have chosen Great Harwood as the location for this additional levelling up investment.

"Great Harwood has a fantastic selection of thriving independent businesses and this will support them and the wider community longer term.

"Greening of the high street will attract and sustain footfall, increase pride of place and bring something new to the area.

"I am also very pleased that Peter Holden, president of the Great Harwood Civic Society, has agreed to chair a stakeholder board for this project."

Cllr Phil Riley, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “It’s great news that Blackburn with Darwen is one of 10 places chosen by the Government to receive this High Street Accelerator funding.

“The government clearly has confidence in our plans for our two town centres.

“Our schemes all look to drive more people into our town centres to help support the businesses there, important with the changing consumer habits we have all seen.

“This new funding will be used for King William Street and we look forward to working with partners, including the Blackburn BID, to ensure the very best outcomes for our residents, businesses and visitors.”

Labour's Great Harwood councillors have welcomed the new cash.

Overton ward's Cllr Scott Brerton said "We've long been advocating for more government and council cash to be spent on the town.

"Earlier this year I wrote a public letter to the leader Cllr Marlene Haworth calling for more money, because while Accrington is receiving £10s of millions for its town centre, the outer towns like Great Harwood are starved of funding."

Netherton ward's Cllr Noordad Aziz said "Whilst we welcome this funding coming into the town, the hard work doesn't stop. We will continue to seek further investment into our town."

Abingdon Street and Queen Street in Blackpool have also been given and £237,00 grant from the programme.